09. Milestones Pt.1

tldr: design science is not a school for design, or for science

If you are an avid and regular reader of this blog, you may have been concerned yesterday that I did not post. However, this time it was completely planned! I pushed off posting yesterday, because as of 7pm (PST), I will have officially graduated from high school. A feat 12 years in the making– and yet it still feels like just yesterday I was signing little pledges in elementary school to graduate in 2020. [Were those pledges kinda weird? I never really knew how to feel about them.] Given that I am graduating today, I thought I would make a blog post about how my school actually works.

I have spent the last four years at Design Science Middle College High School (AKA: DSMCHS or Design or Design Science). First off, this is not a special school for Design, or for Science. Why they chose that name I will never know. The part that makes this school special (or at the very least deserving of a blog post to explain how it works) is the “Middle College” part of the name. See, Design is partnered with Fresno City College. When freshmen come into Design they take a counselling class in addition to regular high school classes. Then, every year after that, more and more college classes get added to their schedule until they are essentially a full time college student their junior/senior year.

Sophomore year, the classes are mostly the MIT equivalent of GIRs: photography, anthropology, communications, etc. In general: humanities classes. One can continue taking humanities classes (as often happens), but starting Junior year the schedule is tailored to the individual. This is why we have such small graduating classes (this year 67 students). For instance, I was and am a full-fledged math major. So, working with my counselors, we were able to make a student education plan so that I could graduate with my Associates Degree for Transfer in mathematics.

That is another interesting part of Design Science: The college classes run on a semester system, meaning that we can take more classes in a shorter amount of time. This meant that my math education so far went as follows: [In parentheses is year, and semester if applicable)

Geometry (9) > Alg 2 (10) > Trig (11 F) > Calc 1 (11 Sp) >

Calc 2 (11th Sm) > Calc 3/Linear Alg (12 F) > Diff. Eq. (12 Sp).

Now granted. This required me knowing that mathematics is what I wanted to do, and a lot of self-advocating for the classes I was taking. But nonetheless, the fact that I was able to jump from Trigonometry to Differential Equations in two years is something I could have never imagined happening during high school.

Furthermore, over the last four years, 100% of graduating seniors have been accepted into a four-year university. This is due largely to the fact that we have an amazing counselor who pushes for every student to submit applications to the UCs/CSUs (if they have fee waivers). It also helps that everyone on the staff is supportive of helping us, from tutoring in math classes, to reading application essays. They set the bar high, and their expectations are met. This year we had four students accepted into Stanford. FOUR. This was the first year that anyone from our school got into Stanford, let alone four.

I could talk about Design Science for ages. And there is no doubt in my mind that I will mention it here or there in various blog posts (thus, why I devoted one to explaining how it works). It has been an integral part of my identity, from being blocks away from the thriving community, to the exceptional education I have received over the last four years. A big milestone in my life is about to end, and the next one about to start. And as weird as it is:

I am Paige, and I pledge to graduate from a four-year university in the year 2024.


Published by Paige Bright

Hi- my name is Paige Alexandria Bright. I am a rising junior at MIT interested in mathematics and philosophy. I have been writing this blog since the beginning of COVID. Lets see where this goes.

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